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PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS POTENTIAL COMPENSATION FOLLOWING COOLAROO RECYCLING PLANT FIRE

July 17th, 2017 by

Maddens Lawyers have commenced investigations into SKM Industries Pty Ltd, the owner and operator of the Coolaroo Recycling Plant, as a result of a large fire at the plant.

A public meeting will be held this week on Thursday 20 July at 6.30pm at the Coolaroo Hotel, Cnr Barry Rd & Maffra St for local residents and businesses impacted by the fire to discuss their potential for compensation, and how this class action will work. Houses and business in and around Coolaroo were evacuated as a result of toxic fumes, smoke and ash emanating from the fire.

Mr Brendan Pendergast, Principal of Maddens Lawyers, said that the consequences of the Coolaroo Recycling Plant fire will be likely to give rise to a claim for compensation against the owner and operator of the plant.

Mr Pendergast said that it was particularly concerning that there had been numerous previous incidences of fire at the recycling plant, including in February and June this year. “The frequency of fires at the plant is a red flag. It indicates that fire risk management and control measures may not be adequate and that further investigation should be undertaken.”

For more information, contact Maddens Lawyers on 1800 815 228 or email coolaroofire@maddenslawyers.com.au to register your details. Registering is not a commitment to take legal action, but will ensure that those affected are kept informed of developments regarding the investigation and compensation opportunities.

Media Contacts
Brendan Pendergast, Partner, Maddens Lawyers 0419 538 142
Sarah Sheehan, Communications Manager, Maddens Lawyers 0401 904 570

STAMP DUTY AND FOREIGN RESIDENT CAPITAL GAINS WITHHOLDING PROVISIONS FROM 1 JULY 2017

July 17th, 2017 by

The following changes apply to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2017.

They do not apply to contracts entered into before 1 July 2017.

Stamp Duty Exemptions and Concessions for First Home Buyers

Eligible first home buyers purchasing a home with a dutiable value of less than $600,000.00 are exempt from paying stamp duty on the purchase of that home.

Eligible first home buyers purchasing a home with a value between $600,001.00 to $750,000.00 will be entitled to a concessional rate of duty. The concession will be greater where the value of the property is closer to $600,001.00.

First Home Owner Grant for Regional Victoria

A new increased First Home Owner Grant of $20,000.00 is available for first home-buyers who buy or build a new home valued up to $750,000.00 in regional Victoria.

Off-the-plan Concessions

From 1 July 2017, off-the-plan concessions (OTP Concessions) will only apply to buyers purchasing an off-the-plan property for the purpose of occupying the property as their home.

The OTP Concessions apply to purchasers who are eligible for:

1. a first home buyer stamp duty concession or exemption (available for purchases with a dutiable value of up to $750,000); or

2. a principal place of residence stamp duty concession (available for purchases with a dutiable value of up to $550,000).

The off-the-plan stamp duty concession deducts from the purchase price, the cost of any construction or refurbishment which occurs on or after the contract date.

Example:

Person A decides to buy a new apartment in an apartment block with a land value of $100,000.00 and a purchase price of $400,000.00. Construction on the apartment has not commenced. The value of the land plus improvements at the contract date (the dutiable amount) is $100,000.00. This is below the principal place of residence threshold for $550,000.00, meaning Person A is eligible for the off-the-plan stamp duty concession.

Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding

Where a foreign resident disposes of taxable Australian property, the purchaser is required to withhold a monetary amount being 12.5% of the purchase price. This is the Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding (FRCGW) tax. The purchaser must then remit the tax to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

From 1 July 2017, the FRCGW applies to Australian properties with a market value of $750,000.00 or more. Prior to 1 July 2017, FRCGW only applied to properties with a market value of $2,000,000.00 or more.

Unless a vendor provides the purchaser with a Clearance Certificate from the ATO, certifying that the vendor is not a foreign resident, the Purchaser must withhold 12.5% of the purchase price in transactions involving taxable Australian real property where that property has a market value of $750,000.00 or more.

Example One:

Person A is purchasing a property with market value of $650,400.00 from Person B. Person B is a foreign resident. The purchaser does not need to withhold any of the purchase price as the property has a value under $750,000.00.

Example Two:

Person A is purchasing a property with a market value of $800,000.00 from Person B. Person B has not provided a clearance certificate from the ATO and is deemed a foreign resident. Person A must withhold 12.5% of the purchase price being $100,000.00 and remit this amount to the ATO.

Example Three:

Person A is purchasing a property with a market value of $800,000.00 from Person B. Person B has provided a clearance certificate from the ATO. Person A does not need to withhold any of the purchase price as Person B is not a foreign resident.

MADDENS LAWYERS LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO THE COOLAROO RECYCLING PLANT FIRE

July 14th, 2017 by

Maddens Lawyers have commenced an investigation into SKM Industries Pty Ltd, the owner and operator of the Coolaroo Recycling Plant, as a result of a large fire currently burning at the plant.

Approximately 100 houses and business in and around Coolaroo have been evacuated as a result of toxic fumes, smoke and ash emanating from the fire. At least four people, including a child, are reported to have been taken to hospital as a result of health concerns arising from the fire.

Mr Brendan Pendergast, Principal of Maddens Lawyers, said that the consequences of the Coolaroo Recycling Plant fire may give rise to a claim for compensation against the owner and operator of the plant.

Mr Pendergast said that it was particularly concerning that there had been numerous previous incidences of fire at the recycling plant, including in February and June this year. “The frequency of fires at the plant is a red flag. It indicates that fire risk management and control measures may not be adequate and that further investigation should be undertaken.”

Maddens Lawyers has significant experience in representing large groups of people impacted by fire having successfully represented many hundreds of victims of bushfires across Victoria and New South Wales since 1983. This includes people affected by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and, more recently, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Mr Pendergast said that “Maddens Lawyers are acutely aware of the impact that fire can have on a person’s health as well as the significant inconvenience arising from displacement and smoke, soot and ash infiltration. Of course, each of these issues are likely to have financial consequences for victims as well.”

Anyone impacted should contact Maddens Lawyers on 1800 815 228 or via e-mail coolaroofire@maddenslawyers.com.au to register their details. Registering is not a commitment to take legal action but will ensure that those affected are kept informed of developments regarding the investigation and compensation opportunities.

Given the number of people impacted, any potential claim for compensation is likely to be advanced by way of a class action.

The fire is expected to continue to burn for a number of days.

 

Media Contact:

Brendan Pendergast, Partner, Maddens Lawyers: 0419 538 142
Sarah Sheehan, Communications Manager, Maddens Lawyers: 0401 904 570

MADDENS LAWYERS BEGINS INVESTIGATIONS INTO AVEO’S FEE AND CONTRACT ALLEGATIONS

June 29th, 2017 by

Residents and family or friends of former residents living in Aveo retirement villages are urged to contact Maddens Lawyers. The firm has initiated investigations following reports of exorbitant exit and management fees and breaches of contract.

Maddens Lawyers Class Action principal Brendan Pendergast said early investigations indicate that further inquiries should be made in respect of Aveo Group’s conduct.

“We need to communicate with those affected parties to gather more information so that we can assess whether there are grounds upon which to pursue affected persons’ rights.”

“Registering with Maddens is free, and it does not mean that a person has engaged a lawyer or is obligated to take action. It’s an excellent way to remain informed about the progress of our investigations, and options in relation to legal action should it occur,” Mr Pendergast explained.

Maddens Lawyers, in South West Victoria, are well placed to represent large groups of people having successfully represented hundreds of victims of bushfires across Victoria and New South Wales since 1983. This includes people affected by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and, more recently, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

The firm is directing anyone who believes they or someone they know may be affected by Aveo Group’s fee and contract allegations to register their details online or by calling its toll free number 1800 815 228.

Media Contact:

Brendan Pendergast, Partner, Maddens Lawyers: 0419 538 142                                                                
Sarah Sheehan, Communications Manager, Maddens Lawyers: 0401 904 570

BUSHFIRE COMPENSATION EXPERTS LAUNCH CARWOOLA BUSHFIRE CLASS ACTION

May 11th, 2017 by

BUSHFIRE COMPENSATION EXPERTS LAUNCH CARWOOLA BUSHFIRE CLASS ACTION

The lawyers that have previously secured millions in compensation for bushfire victims have launched a class action on behalf of those affected by the 17 February 2017 Carwoola bushfire.

Regional Victorian firm Maddens Lawyers has issued proceedings in the New South Wales Supreme Court against Advanced Plumbing and Drains Pty Ltd, on behalf of residents and business owners burnt out by the Carwoola bushfire of 17 February this year.

The Carwoola bushfire burnt an area of approximately 3,500 hectares, destroying 11 houses and 45 outbuildings. A further 12 homes along with additional outbuildings were also badly damaged. The lawyer leading the class action has speculated a claim bill in excess of $15 million.

Madden’s Senior Partner Brendan Pendergast explained that the proceedings, issued in the New South Wales Supreme Court, allege the Carwoola fire started on private property in the course of an Advanced Plumbing employee undertaking work involving the use of a power cutting wheel that caused the discharge of sparks.

Mr Pendergast said that 17 February 2017 was a total fire ban day in the Carwoola region. “The conditions on the day were hot, dry and windy. The use of steel cutting equipment in these weather conditions, and on a rural property, carries with it a significant bushfire risk. Our preliminary inquiries indicate that appropriate precautions were not put in place to eliminate or reduce that risk.”

Mr Pendergast said the class action was a secure and low-risk means for the residents and businesses marred by the fire to claim funds their insurance policies did not cover.

“Maddens has extensive experience in representing bushfire victims. We are acutely aware of the emotional and economic impact a bushfire can have on people.”

“We’ve successfully settled class actions for four different communities that were burnt out during the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7 2009. We have also represented hundreds of bushfire victims impacted by the October 2013 Springwood/Winmalee bushfire and secured millions of dollars of compensation for losses that occurred as a result of that fire” he explained.

“Quite simply, Carwoola residents have suffered losses that are not their fault. They are losses that would not have occurred had the right procedures been followed. There is no reason these residents should sit back and just accept that this fire occurred, and accept the damage that it did.

“There is every reason for them to ask the question of what they are due, because it is what they deserve.”

Advanced Plumbing and Drains Pty Ltd have until 26 May 2017 to file a defence to the proceeding.

The firm has also issued a separate class action proceeding in the New South Wales Supreme Court arising out of the Tarago/Currandooley bushfire which commenced on 17 January 2017 and caused extensive property damage.

Mr Pendergast urged any residents or business owners interested in knowing the options available to Carwoola bushfire victims to contact Maddens Lawyers tollfree on 1800 139 290, or by registering online at maddenslawyers.com.au.

CLASS ACTION FOR VICTIMS OF THE 17 JANUARY 2017 CURRANDOOLEY FIRE

May 11th, 2017 by

MADDENS LAWYERS ISSUE CLASS ACTION FOR VICTIMS OF THE 17 JANUARY 2017 CURRANDOOLEY FIRE

Today Maddens Lawyers filed a class action against Infigen Energy Limited (Infigen) on behalf of land owners affected by the 17 January 2017 Currandooley Fire.

The fire was caused when a crow connected with overhead electrical infrastructure, caught alight and dropped into dry foliage underneath a powerline that transfers electricity from Infigen’s Woodlawn Windfarm to a substation at their Capital Wind Farm on the property known as Currandooley.

The fire burnt approximately 3,400 hectares completely destroying 1 residence, numerous sheds, hundreds of livestock as well as cars, fencing, trees and pasture.

The Statement of Claim Maddens have filed on behalf of lead plaintiffs Fred Kuhn and Liz Stewart of Mount Fairy alleges that Infigen was aware of the risk that a bird strike to its high voltage electrical infrastructure could cause a fire. It was aware of numerous previous similar incidents but failed to take appropriate steps to address the risk until after the fire.

The firm’s Class Action Principal, Brendan Pendergast, said “Infigen failed to exercise reasonable care and to address this very serious issue until after the fire.”

33 individual claimants from 22 fire affected properties have instructed Maddens Lawyers to seek compensation for their fire loss and damage. Maddens are aware of a further 6 properties which were fire affected but are yet to receive instructions from their owners.

Mr Pendergast explained that the matter has been referred the NSW Coroner and that Maddens Lawyers will seek leave to appear before the Coroner to represent the fire victims in the event that a full coronial inquiry is conducted.

Mr Pendergast who has attended several community meetings conducted at Tarago explained “there is a diversity of support for the presence of wind farms in the area amongst local landowners. The point here is the compelling fact whether you support the wind farms or not this fire could have been avoided by a simple and inexpensive design modification to the configuration of the lines and by institution of the fire mitigation steps that have now been completed post fire”. Mr Pendergast went on to say “it is regrettable that these simple steps were not taken sooner. If that had been done this fire would not have occurred.”

JACK RIVER BUSHFIRE CLASS ACTION COMPLETE

February 21st, 2017 by

JACK RIVER BUSHFIRE CLASS ACTION COMPLETE

The Jack River Bushfire Class Action has drawn to a close, with final compensation payments being made to all group members a day before the third anniversary of the fire.

Maddens Lawyers distributed more than $8 million in compensation cheques to over 30 registrants, covering the final compensation payment for loss and damage suffered in the February 9 2014 Jack River bushfire.

Maddens Lawyers launched the class action in September 2014, in response to the fire that earlier on 9 February that year burnt 5000 hectares between Jack River and Madalya, west of the Gippsland township of Yarram.

The fire started after trees clashed with a powerline north west of the Egans Road and Yarram-Morwell Road intersection on the morning of February 9.

The Supreme Court of Victoria approved the settlement at the end of 2016 and the distribution of compensation to those involved was completed on Wednesday 8 February 2017.

Registrants’ compensation covered more than 75% of their assessed loss and damage.

Maddens Lawyers Class Action Principal Brendan Pendergast said the mailing of the cheques marked the final stage of the Jack River 2015 Bushfire Class Action and that, in terms of legal action such as this, was an efficient and timely result.

“In the end, we were able to achieve a good result for the claimants, and secure as much compensation as possible for their loss.”

COMPENSATION ON THE CARDS FOR FESTIVAL STAMPEDE VICTIMS

January 5th, 2017 by

COMPENSATION ON THE CARDS FOR FESTIVAL STAMPEDE VICTIMS

Injured and traumatised Falls Festival patrons left reeling after a stampede at the Lorne music event on 30 December last year may have grounds for compensation. 

Maddens Lawyers, in Warrnambool, has been speaking with a number of festival patrons who were witness to, and caught up in the drama, which saw 19 people admitted to hospital and more than 60 people treated by on-site paramedics.

The firm is encouraging any other patrons left injured or traumatised by the incident to register their details with the firm as it investigates the details.

Maddens Lawyers Class Action principal Brendan Pendergast said early investigations pointed to site design being at the heart of the late-night catastrophe.

“Entrances and exits to the venue in question, barricades surrounding walkways, even the material on the walkways themselves… these were all conditions that were well outside the control of festival patrons.

“These revellers purchased their tickets to, and attended, the Falls event in good faith that their safety, health and wellbeing would be preserved,” Mr Pendergast said.

He urged anyone injured in, or traumatised by what happened in and outside the festival’s Grand Theatre tent on 30 December to contact Maddens Lawyers as soon as possible.

Contacting us doesn’t instigate legal action, or mean that a patron has engaged a lawyer. It’s how we can assess the extent of the pain and suffering caused by this event, and the best grounds on which to pursue legal action and compensation on behalf of those affected.

“Registering isn’t necessarily a commitment to take action – at this early stage, it’s an excellent way to remain informed about the progress of our investigations and remain across what options are in relation to legal action and compensation,” Mr Pendergast explained.

“Registering with Maddens is free and it’s certainly not an obligation to take action – we see it as the best way for victims to be kept informed of the latest information.”

Maddens Lawyers has successfully represented hundreds of victims of bushfires across Victoria and New South Wales since 1983. This includes south west Victorians affected by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and, more recently, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Mr Pendergast directed anyone affected by the Falls Festival stampede to visit maddenslawyers.com.au to register their details.

SCOTSBURN BUSHFIRE CLASS ACTION

December 13th, 2016 by

MADDENS LAUNCH SCOTSBURN BUSHFIRE CLASS ACTION

The law firm that led four Black Saturday bushfire class actions has now launched a class action on behalf of victims of a Scotsburn fire that last year burnt more than 4000 hectares and 12 houses.

 Maddens Lawyers Senior Partner and bushfire compensation expert Brendan Pendergast said his firm, which has successfully settled several bushfire-related class actions on behalf of hundreds of fire victims, was confident those who lost property in the 19 December 2015 fire had a strong case for compensation.

The 2015 Scotsburn fire broke out around 3pm on Saturday 19 December when a Finns Road paddock was being slashed by a local landowner. The Scotsburn resident, Roger Skimming, has since been convicted of failing to carry adequate fire-fighting equipment on the tractor he was using, which the court found could have suppressed the blaze before it took off.

Mr Pendergast said his firms’ investigations led them to believe fire victims had a strong case for compensation to cover uninsured losses. “Our early investigations, combined with our experience in bushfire litigation, tells us there is certainly a case worth pursuing,” Mr Pendergast said.

He encouraged any property owners who had been affected by the fire, via damage to property, pastures, fences, trees, livestock or otherwise, to contact the firm to register their interest in the class action. Mr Pendergast explained that by registering with Maddens Lawyers, fire victims would be kept up to date on the progress of the class action, and the investigations that formed part of the legal action.

“Registering isn’t necessarily a commitment to take action – at this early stage, it’s an excellent way to remain informed about the progress of the class action and remain across what their options are in relation to the litigation,” Mr Pendergast explained. “Registering with Maddens is free and it’s certainly not an obligation to take action – we see it as the best way for victims to be kept informed of the latest information.”

Mr Pendergast said the Warrnambool-based firm would be travelling to the Scotsburn area in coming weeks to run a public meeting to discuss the compensation claim.

“That will enable people to discuss the process and the general legal aspects of compensation claims,” Mr Pendergast explained.

Mr Pendergast clarified that a class action could be a lengthy process, from initial registration through to final payments post-trial, but added that his firm had achieved considerable success in the past. “For example, we are preparing to finalise compensation payments in a similar class action in the Gippsland region of Jack River, which has been three years between the date of the fire and final payments to burnt-out landowners,” he explained.

He encouraged anyone keen for more information about the class action process to contact Maddens Lawyers either online or toll free on 1800 815 228.

Maddens Lawyers, based in Warrnambool on Victoria’s South West Coast, successfully represented hundreds of regional landowners and businesses who lost property and business in four Black Saturday fires; Beechworth, in Victoria’s north east; Horsham and Coleraine, in the state’s far mid-west and Weerite, near Camperdown, in south west Victoria.

The firm is also involved in a number of additional bushfire class actions relating to other fires that have occurred more recently, such as Springwood in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and the Mickleham-Kilmore Bushfire that burnt through Melbourne’s outskirts in February 2014.

LAW FIRM WELCOMES SEXUAL ABUSE REDRESS SCHEME

November 8th, 2016 by

A south west law firm already has a register of more than two hundred sexual abuse victims likely to apply for compensation via the recently-announced institutional sexual abuse redress scheme.

The Federal Government has announced it will establish a dress scheme for victims of child institutional sexual abuse. The scheme was a key recommendation form the child sex abuse Royal Commission.

Maddens’ Personal Injury Law Specialist Gary Foster has been lobbying for more than 12 months for such a scheme. He already has a register of well over two hundred victims of sexual abuse – many from the south west – whose claims will name a variety of churches, schools and other institutions.

Mr Foster, who leads the firm’s Personal Injury department, said the redress scheme would be welcomed by thousands of victims across Australia, as it was likely to do away with a lot of the legal impediments and trauma associated with traditional avenues of compensation through the Courts.

“Victims have been through more than enough without having to get ‘beaten up’ in Courts by institutions seeking to protect their reputation or assets,” he said.

Anyone seeking to register for the redress scheme should contact Gary Foster at Maddens Lawyers, either by clicking here, or phoning 1800 815 228.